Letter: Be ready for six lanes on Grand
I have lived in Glenwood Springs over 60 years. In the early 1950s, CDOT decided that our city needed a new two-lane bridge to replace the old two-lane bridge. Then, a number of years later as a result of traffic congestion, CDOT decided to add two more lanes to the bridge, resulting in a four-lane bridge still in use today, 60 years later.
Now, CDOT has decided we need a new four-lane bridge to replace our old four-lane bridge, without any consideration of future traffic. Does this sound familiar?
In 2010, the “Corridor Optimization Plan” was developed which included 10 strategies to handle future traffic. Only two of the strategies presented were significant and are as follows:
1. Widen Grand Avenue to accommodate six lanes of traffic by removing all parking.
2. Construct a two- or four-lane bypass.
In accordance with No. 1, it may also be necessary to reduce the width of sidewalks.
Does anyone really believe that future traffic increases can be solved by ignoring both of the above options? I believe that CDOT will choose option 1 above due to the higher costs of option 2, estimated to be $500 million in today’s dollars. In fact, a former district engineer for CDOT, years ago, stated that if CDOT decided to expand Grand Avenue to six lanes by removing parking and reducing sidewalk width, it could do it with or without City Council’s approval.
So, for everyone who is in favor of the new bridge and believes that downtown should be saved and is young enough to be around in 15 or 20 years (I won’t), then get ready for a fight when CDOT decides to expand the new four-lane bridge, and Grand Avenue, to six lanes.
Frankly, I am in favor of leaving the four-lane bridge and pedestrian bridge as they are and telling CDOT to come back when it can build a bridge and bypass that will actually address future traffic problems.
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